by Annisa Charles
Cal State Fullerton’s Asian American Journalist Association (AAJA) and National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) hosted a joint COMM Week panel on Apr. 26 called “Modernizing Journalism.” Panelists discussed the ever-changing nature and modernization of journalism.
Melanie Nguyen, the president of AAJA, said this was AAJA’s first time hosting a Comm Week event. Nguyen brought her two mentors from the summer AAJA Voices event to sit as panelists. One of the panelists was Nicholas Wu, a congressional reporter for Politico. The other was Anh Nguyen Gray, a contributing editor for the news team at KUNR Public Radio, an NPR member public radio station in Reno, Nevada.
Anthony Bautista, president of NAHJ, had scheduled Los Angeles Times’s column one editor, Steve Padilla, to sit as a panelist as well, but he could not make it due to personal matters.
During the panel, Bautista and Nguyen asked Gray and Wu questions about journalism, how it has changed, how they see it changing and any tips they have for students.
Gray and Wu expressed how news reporting has changed to favor multimedia reporters rather than journalists who only write. They also pointed out that nonprofit and local papers have been doing better, with more people supporting those outlets.
Wu said he has noticed he has been working on longer forms of news reporting, known as enterprise articles. He said this comes from the lack of needing stories fast that will hit the internet and go viral since platforms such as Facebook and Instagram do not promote their work anymore due to algorithmic changes.
Gray gave the AAJA and NAHJ students the advice of making sure to gain a connection when reporting with their sources and always leave the interview with a name of a person they should interview next. Growing a relationship with a source helps demystify what journalism is about and makes the community that the reporter is covering feel better seen and will trust the journalist more.
Anthony Bautista, president of NAHJ, asked Gray and Wu where they see journalism in the next 10 years. Gray and Wu said they could not answer this question because journalism changes almost daily. Gray said there is always a trend in journalism, which is currently beat reporting. She explained that some organizations specifically cover only one thing, such as the California wildfires, for example.
Gray did say that instead of seeing journalistic trends, the field needs to find something sustainable. Due to the lack of sustainability in the industry, many people face layoffs. Wu added to this point by explaining how finances simply are not there for these media outlets, and they cannot afford to pay reporters. Finding something sustainable has to be economically sustainable as well, being able to generate funds for the outlet.
Gray and Wu advised the students to build community within the journalism industry to learn, gain experience and get involved in opportunities. Also, ensuring a substantial portfolio and clips of work done to get into the industry is essential.